Energy Just Might Decide the 2008 Presidential Election
Today, Obama delivered a speech attacking McCain on energy. Not only did he lay out a very detailed & comprehensive plan (read the speech here), but he tied McCain to 30 years of political ineffectiveness that has led to our complete & utter addiction to oil.
I think Obama can really make hay on this subject. Not only does he have the superior policy plans & ideas on how to move the country forward, but he can hurt McCain badly with remarks like these:
What Senator McCain neglected to mention was that during those thirty years, he was in Washington for twenty-six of them. And in all that time, he did little to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. He voted against increased fuel efficiency standards and opposed legislation that included tax credits for more efficient cars. He voted against renewable sources of energy. Against clean biofuels. Against solar power. Against wind power. Against an energy bill that - while far from perfect - represented the largest investment in renewable sources of energy in the history of this country. So when Senator McCain talks about the failure of politicians in Washington to do anything about our energy crisis, it's important to remember that he's been a part of that failure. Now, after years of inaction, and in the face of public frustration over rising gas prices, the only energy proposal he's really promoting is more offshore drilling - a position he recently adopted that has become the centerpiece of his plan, and one that will not make a real dent in current gas prices or meet the long-term challenge of energy independence.
Senator McCain would not take the steps or achieve the goals that I outlined today. His plan invests very little in renewable sources of energy and he's opposed helping the auto industry re-tool. Like George Bush and Dick Cheney before him, he sees more drilling as the answer to all of our energy problems, and like them, he's found a receptive audience in the very same oil companies that have blocked our progress for so long. In fact, he raised more than one million dollars from big oil just last month, most of which came after he announced his plan for offshore drilling in a room full of cheering oil executives. His initial reaction to the bipartisan energy compromise was to reject it because it took away tax breaks for oil companies. And even though he doesn't want to spend much on renewable energy, he's actually proposed giving $4 billion more in tax breaks to the biggest oil companies in America - including $1.2 billion to Exxon-Mobil.
This is a corporation that just recorded the largest profit in the history of the United States. . This is the company that, last quarter, made $1,500 every second. That's more than $300,000 in the time it takes you to fill up a tank with gas that's costing you more than $4-a-gallon. And Senator McCain not only wants them to keep every dime of that money, he wants to give them more.
That has to hurt if you are staffing or supporting the McCain campaign. I predict this message we heard today from Obama will resonate with American voters. The timing just feels right for a bold new vision to sweep old stuff (like McCain) away. I predict Obama will become a broken record on this for the rest of the campaign. This is winning material.
Now, if he would only start thinking & talking about passenger rail. That would be icing on the cake.